Pitch by Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands at the ‘Goalkeepers event’, New York

Good morning ladies and gentlemen!

As the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate, I’ve been working for almost a decade to expand what we call financial inclusion--giving everyone, everywhere access to the financial services they need to protect themselves against hardship, invest in their future and allow them to participate in economic progress.

As Special Advocate I’ve witnessed up close the power of purpose-driven technology to change lives. I’ve seen that when we develop the right technology for the right reasons, we can empower billions of people--low-income women whose digital savings accounts allow them to fund their childrens’ education…smallholder farmers who’ve expanded production thanks to online credit…migrant workers who can use safe mobile payments to send home money to their families.

We have made great progress over the last decade, but 40% of the world’s adults are still locked out of the financial system. We need to move much more quickly. One reason for this urgency is our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals. Financial inclusion has been widely recognized as a crucial enabler for reaching the Goals by 2030. So if we want to catalyze real progress, Financial Inclusion needs to be in place soon.

A new revolution in financial technology is beginning to unfold. Blockchain, artificial intelligence, and big data are already transforming the financial landscape. In China, for example, financial services are being provided on a massive scale thanks to innovative technologies.  And today technology is making it possible for people to co-design financial services that reflect what they really need. And responding to real people needs is what will lead us to their development. At the same time we must ensure that they protect people’s privacy, dignity, and rights.
All this talk about technology and finance may seem a little abstract! Let us see what it means for people’s lives?